Ideally, I would be able to transfer my bread making skills to bread made over a fire or in a solar oven - without use of electricity or gas.
I may have finally found a fool-proof recipe that works every time and actually tastes good!
It's a 2-day recipe.
My biggest issue with making bread is getting it to rise in a cold house without using an external heat source (oven light, heating pad, etc.) and when using "older than ideal" yeast.
In an emergency, will you always have fresh yeast? Probably not. Yeast expires very quickly.
|Stirring the Poolish for 100 strokes, a dough whisk really is better than a wire whisk|
First make a Poolish:
1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup whole wheat (or all purpose) flour
Mix for 100 strokes - then let sit for 12-15 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. You can let this sit on the counter and I usually let it sit on the counter for a few hours then the rest overnight in the refrigerator.
|The Poolish - Al bubbly and alive!|
The next day, add:
2 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp yeast
1 Tbsp salt
6 cups All purpose flour
Knead for 10-15 minutes then let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Divide it and shape it into 2 balls. Let it rise for 2-3 hours or until doubled. Form into loaves. Let it rise in the pan for a few hours (or doubled again).
Bake at 375F for 20-30 minutes. Check at 20 and see if it is golden brown on top and thumps when you tap it.
If you want a really crusty outside, stick a pan of water in the oven while it preheats and allow the water to steam during the cooking process. When you take the bread out, baste the top with butter and pull the loaves out of the pans and put them on a cooking rack (or the bottom could get soggy.)
Then wait a few minutes for the bread to cool down and slice it up.